tv Book TV After Words CSPAN September 9, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm EDT
is generally something to be desired, but if you take your personal blinders with deep it often hardly matters where you are. thinking about my stars and stripes reader's question the conclusion of come to is, it is not just where you go but how you see what's there, and no less important, who you see that matters which means that sometimes you can actually see more by going no where all. an iraqi tragedy. when american officials, civilian or military, open their eyes and check out the local landscape no matter where they have landed, all evidence indicates that the first thing they tend to see is themselves. ..
putting an iraqi or afghan mask over the face and be recognized however inconveniently or embarrassingly as americans. >> up next on booktv, "after words" with guest host juan williams, columnist for dylan fox analyst. this week the winning journalist and team of donald barlett and james steele and their latest book, betrayal of the american dream detail the dismantling of the middle class in the reach of the decade through washington deregulation of wall street
speculation. >> host: don barlett and james steele are the authors of this book, "the betrayal of the american dream." gentleman come you are a team that dishonored if any, bob woodward, my former colleague at the post speaks highly of you. your peers that celebrated you. he went to pulitzers, national magazine awards could to pulitzers were for auditing the irs and 75 in 89, going after the house ways and means committee in terms of tax loopholes being given to big business. the 16 george polk awards. you are an event of a great tradition of americans about people in the old days would call muckrakers. today we call today because of investigative reporters. but investigative reporting is a seems to be in decline. there doesn't seem to be much of
it anymore. we went through a fallow period and merely part of of the 20th century. there's people like that against a fence and ida tarbell and upton sinclair is the most famous. and then you come forward to the 60s and now you see more of that kind of critical, intellectual consciousness emerge as the market for stories that take in and you get people like oliver sin. what you meant you cannot. >> guest: neil cherbourg, bob greeted newsday and all the great investigative reporting team to put together, both for regional, national and even international cases, was a real trendsetter at the time, looking at the big issues, not just the small ones. so they set the pace for a lot of businesses at the time. just go to not a widespread
occupation, let's put it that way. "the new york times" actually did very little. you had a meal and massacre. that would've been a logical place for it. with a little news service in little papers around the country. >> host: [inaudible] >> guest: now, that was seymour hersh. >> host: he was -- >> guest: no, literacy was. most people tend not to think about it. >> host: why is it we had so much literary reporting today? is it because of the economic problems that are besetting donations newspapers? >> guest: a lot about our economics could have been dramatically reduced. it's also that you don't always
find many newspaper readers of any era embraced investigative reporting. as i just? it the discomfort that investigative reporting often causes in the newsroom because it's troublesome. in fact, more than the economics. it gets people running them to complain to those kinds of things that they altered the 70s and really almost all of our careers to work for people who are really read up in that area and let the chips fall where they may. >> host: well, you are very fortunate in not be so you've been greatly honored by your peers in the craft of journalism. and in this book, you are back to attacking the rich. and i want to say the heart and soul of this book is your
premise that tens of millions of middle-class americans and working poor people have lost out in fur than the american dream is over right now today. can you argue that the reason for this is that there's too much power and influence in the hands of the very rich in american society. and when i'm looking at this, i'm thinking to myself, people are going to say, these guys are basically anti-romney class warfare advocates the democrats. but you are beating up on the rich when in fact they would argue the rich are people who create. anything back to what clinton and cory booker and senator schumer said after the criticism of the folks on wall street. they think these are good folks government contributions in doing so much an art community spirit are you in fact a class
warrior? >> guest: you know, eventually this comes from -- this country was founded on class warfare. that is why people came here. they didn't want the british system. but we have is a british system now. >> host: why do you say this? >> guest: a few people control this. you know, a financial aristocracy. >> host: >> guest: we were actually just recording in my mouth at a wall street investment banker used to describe the united states has become. he used the word metonymy. >> host: combination of autocracy -- >> guest: he wanted his own word. it is a less excitable words and plutocracy. at his point was there are a few platonic meets around the world and they are followed by a tremendous concentration of wealth, greater than all in the
bottom 90%. and he said that is who's going to buy products. that is who's going to drive the economy. >> host: i think you say in the book for people who make less than $200,000, they don't count. >> guest: and this is in the eyes of the hedge fund people. these are hedge fund people talking. and you can understand why they're coming from. the middle class in china endorse the middle class. middle class in india, brazil, you name it. and that's why they say the u.s. is kind of irrelevant. >> host: thermos looking for growth. that's the part of the whole stock receipt. they want growth with companies took the multinational connect in such operations and revenue streams. that's where they want growth and that's why they see the middle class in china and india in particular mr. presenting
macro. they don't have the bottom unshared money to buy what they once did. >> host: when someone says something of this type publicly, use cap related india said to be attacking people who create wealth in america. when he said he didn't know, the larger society contributes the legal structure, bridges and roads, he said to be demeaning small-business owners in america. do you agree or disagree? >> guest: he's absolutely right. it could've been phrased more elegantly perhaps. he's absolutely right. loopy late gemini saying we developed this ourselves. we didn't do it ourselves. we had all kinds of help in the idea that it's one person or two people come the best example is steve jobs and apple. apple derived enormous benefit
from advanced research project agency. they really started the internet. it wasn't al gore. but the deeper pay tribute to that? absolutely not. there's all this perception that one or two people did everything. and the president was absolutely right. i don't think he phrased it very. everybody has a lot of help. >> host: we have a statistic in the book. in the mid-50s, the very richest americans and that has been a tracked by the irs for a decade. and that's it ecp 51% of their income in federal taxes. by 2007 on the eve of the meltdown, they are paying 16%. i mean, this just didn't happen overnight. it was a hurricane that blew through lowered everybody's taxes. this is public policy driven
systematically over several years has contributed to inequity, imbalance and also why so many people at the bottom don't have the money. >> host: you write in the book the two thirds of the nation's total income between 2002 and 2007 went to the top 1%. and you know, this is an incredible reality. but then you asked the question i think rhetorically. people wonder where the jobs go. why is there so much money going to the very rich quick answer comes back to in your mind these hedge funds, the very rich folks would have been enriching themselves. but you say family and the american middle class and feeling the american worker. what is interesting to me to go after people who most innocuous conservatives. people like tom friedman in "the new york times" who say global
trade is not a good thing. why is global trade of that name? i know adam smith is up frowning on you. the tele- spiky inc. global trade is not a good thing. >> guest: he's not frowning as much as maybe tom friedman. we actually get from time to time -- actually smith was very full of corporate power and he thought he would we competition. he had no way of seeing the types of multinational corporations we have now but it overridden them. free trade, global trade, fine. it's a wonderful idea. but we say that we would crack is that in this country is what is offkilter. the problem is we have opened our doors and other countries have not opened their doors. this has been true of many
trading partners, particularly japan. but at the nuclear trade not only opening its doors to certain products, to subsidize to provide all sorts incentives to their company, government funded companies that make it impossible to compete with those companies on a normal, economic playing field. >> host: listening to you and say the problem is japan, china, these other countries. been reading the book, what it comes across as u.s. politician, the very rich in this country, people who run the hedge funds that don't put in place any kind of protection for the american work in american middle class and allow these other countries to compete unfairly. so why are they speaking to decimate our middle-class?
>> guest: agreed. >> host: why would the middle-class cooperate? >> guest: that's the $4000 question. we've come to the conclusion that a lot of it is taking up free trade. any kind of carriers or suggestions, and any measures -- everyone says you can't go up wall street or to make the point that this is not an either/or situation. we need to in some cases enforcing much sharper trade policy. but as a result of that all of our trading partners realize they can do what they want and multinational corporations can send their products offshore, both america and a brief and without duty. there's absolutely no penalty. you're absolutely right to make us back to the politicians and the public policies
>> guest: and you know, there's a billion reward you if you do this or were bored you if you do that. there's no stick, absolutely absolutely no stick with the reverent terms of trade. so there's kind of the fear putting corporations that if you do this are going to pay a penalty. classic example. there's 2 trillion sitting offshore. you know, profits made off shore. >> host: american corporations if they brought it back would be taxed. and they say we made that money offshore. not true. some otherwise, some of it wasn't. some of it was made. shipped off shore. but the point is that money should be taxed if for no other reason they've got writeups and tax returns for the way the money was spent.
so if you're going to process, you should be paying taxes on it. but there's nothing that says if you don't bring that money back to me here's what's going to happen to you. and that is what is missing from this. there is no penalty. this is not rocket science. you can just very easily say, you know, the classic case that was to have it sitting there and they've offered to pay .5%. can you imagine going into irs and say here's what i'm going to pay this year and just give me a pass on this. i give you 5%. ain't going to happen. the multinational corporations happens every day and it is just as dishonest as they get. >> host: the point you make is so true in this case. back in 2003, congress would've succumbed to the argument that we've coddled this money, corporations have many sitting
up short. let us bring it back and will pay a kind of a token tax here. the whole purpose was to create jobs. later reports have disclosed that companies that brought back the most money cut jobs, did not actually create jobs. so that is to guess in a separate in place there's no follow-up to enforce in some way or another by the same penalty. >> host: to bring this back to a human level and politics because were in the midst of a political campaign, you talk about how the rich view money and taxes and a dollar bill differently been working and middle-class americans. for then there's q. can i pay a lesser tax. they pay a lesser tax rate on dividends on unearned income. and then they pay a lesser tax rate on something called carried interest for the hedge fund. and you point out that mitt romney, who was said recently he paid only 13% -- he said that by
the way. i used the word only as a modifier. but he said i pay 13%. it's unfair to say i didn't pay taxes. i was struck by the idea that 13% is a lot less than i paid taxes. but you're making the point that for most americans who don't have mitt romney's income is 42 million i believe, that this is unfair. but again, the power of the rich have controlled the politicians. and also to control the think tanks who all tell us that we are engaged in class warfare for being critical of it. you know, just let me throw something and i don't mean to interrupt, but i remember covering the republican primary in the point was made repeatedly but i believe is close to half of all the taxes in this country are paid by the so-called 1%
that these people are paying the taxes and the rest of the country pays no taxes. but you don't talk about that. >> guest: the reason they pay the taxes is the same way -- >> host: what you mean? >> guest: the rich have all the money now. they have always paid my taxes. >> host: yet nothing is more creative, harder working, more virtuous in terms of willing to put themselves on the line and accept risk in order to achieve their dreams? >> guest: some may well fall into that category. we are not disputing that. the world is filled with all sorts of creative people and there's no problem with it. i think the problem we face this is out of balance for the ladies to be in this country than the rich duties to pay more than they do now. the average person has no idea. in many cases how much the tax rates have dropped, the
effective tax or surcharge with those in the past. when he mentioned a second ago is aperfect example and most of its history, tax on dividends was at least would've us if you were a biochemist or a salesman or a tiremaker who made a good living, what ever was. the end of income dividends were taxed at that rate. 2003 comes in and the greatest place to 15%. that was the first time ever. this is a monumental tax break to did very, very rich. when you look at tax returns, iris data, the number of people who take dividends is 1% or 2% of the population. does everybody happy to get 15% tax? yes. but who really benefits? a tiny, tiny number of people. but it never happened before 2003. it had been pretty much the same as your earned income. >> host: well, how do you have
been? >> guest: it was put there as the bush tax cuts in 2003. >> host: i didn't mean to process so much as why would politicians who should be representing the middle-class. >> guest: but put that straight. they do not represent the middle-class. the middle-class doesn't give them their campaign contributions. it's not where money comes from. they are beholden to the people who give them the money and that's why they line up. private equity. >> host: if you talk to people involved, if you check to people who are working class white americans, they line up with a spokesman for you know what, we believe an american virtue and hard work and sacrifice and why our private lives out here hammering us? >> guest: these taxes will never discourage initiative. one of the great myths of the sleepless in tax rates are so
high, people didn't work. this is one of the great enduring myths of that whole theory. go back to the 1950s when tax rates -- people earning from and attack surface 92%. they're effective rate was substantially higher than it is now. were the 1950s the time of corporate in this country, where people didn't work, we are successful, but didn't want to do it? complete malarkey. people worked as hard as they ever do in the country economically was very strong at this time. if you don't want to pay taxes come if you don't like the taxes or think you're being a racket one of these days, you advocate that course. but that's not the way it used to be. obviously if the very commensurate wealth they cannot afford to pay more. but the bulk of that through these programs to cut the taxes. >> host: i'm really curious why do you think the tea party folks, why do you think especially older, white
republican americans say we identify with the goals of what you call the plutocrat. >> guest: that's a really good question. this is me personally. i'd like to see a series of brain scans to see if we can see beyond what is going on here. i don't know. it doesn't make any sense whatsoever because first of all we've had this system now for the last couple of years that hasn't created any jobs at all. it's eliminated jobs. >> host: but they blame president obama for that. they say by the way at the end of your book, you advised one of the solutions for this is increased government spending on infrastructure and the like. it sounds again right out of the obama playbook. but that is what it said so many working-class and middle-class people that you say you're speaking for. >> guest: we think they've
been diluted on this issue of the deficit. we make this point very clear. this is not the time to be worried about the federal deficit. if the federal deficit problem? it is. we don't dispute that. right now we need to spend money. i mean, the deficit tax, where would they be 1942 in the journal comes in and says i need 100,000 taxis. what they say? would give me 10,000. the airport says we need a thousand bombers. would you be 150. that is the mentality right now. winning spending, not just a short-term stimulus playing. we need a long-term investment infrastructure, not just highways and pipelines and electric lines, technology and a whole range of things. we need to look to the long range to create the good paying jobs. in the deficit mindset, nobody wants to spend the time. we're saying right now that's wrong. >> host: again but i am telling you is there are people, especially older americans who
are saying, you know what, i don't agree. i think we should be encouraging initiative. in fact when president obama said he wants to spend more in terms of education, health care and the like that these people say he's the entitlement president. >> guest: foodstamp residents are in favor because foodstamp spending has gone way up. for the first time ever, majority of the recipient collected men are employed. they can get by and not. >> host: if there is growth on board the middle-class in this country are basically in service occupations things like retail clerks, customer service, childcare, security guards. low-paying jobs.
while somehow you got this political support for the plutocrat. >> host: we think in part a lot of it is propaganda. a lot of better things tanks that continually railed against deficit spending. a lot of it is part of the media. and here we are coming this is their business and we should be biting the hand count but a lot of media has succumbed to argument and portrayed a lot of these things as two sides of the coin. but the fact of the matter is a lot of people, a lot of middle-class people who have bought into these arguments is not in their best interest. and until they see that, things may change. but the fact that the country is very divided on this issue, a lot of them are not voting interest, but many are nec an increasing number of people who realize that we're not creating good jobs in this country. >> host: this reminds me of the book was the underwent chance? but also you are critical of the
political class, which are also critical of the prosecutors. for example, when you put back at the collapse of the american economy back in 07, away come you point out one of these wall street people went to jail. now not who you are as investigative reporters. what i should point out where it is that these men or women broke the law? >> guest: there's a two-part thing here. if you look in the searcy looked and can't find any broken mosque, which i very seriously doubt, we haven't had a real prosecutor says morgan paul. he was the last really serious prosecutor. but let's accept that argument. they didn't break any laws. the very next thing should be a whole congressman up in the show, introducing legislation to
make the conduct they engaged in criminal, that allowed the exit take place. >> host: is not dodd-frank? >> guest: a little bit. but the other things because we've written so much about taxes over the years, we've long ago recommended to stop criminalizing taxes. make it ager conan penalty. you have to ship your money overseas? fine, but we will take all of it not. we'll give you immediate family can come check for the year and then you start all over. that would be far more effect to then putting someone in prison for six or seven months and then they come out of all the money is still there. that makes no sense whatsoever. >> host: republicans are even critical of dodd-frank and say we should unshackle wall street and you are in fact creating uncertainty and pressures on
especially big business and they don't like it. >> host: they talked to sandy while lyrically and terms of just that issue. and joe can come up with the fact is the guy who led very much to eliminate glass-steagall , exactly to eliminate the firewall between wall street and banks. now we're saying that was a terrible mistake. the whole argument that there are too many regulations and that's very common when you see them. absolutely no basis for it. multiple regulations led to the collapse. it was the fact is very little oversight. there was a whole mindset committee regulation mindset that created an part that home mortgage catastrophe. i mean, one of the things we saw was sometime in the veteran center in southwest florida and everybody knows a lot of the
current veterans from afghanistan, iraq, what they've come back to. what was interesting is how many went back to the creative for vietnam, gulf war 15, 20 years ago. a lot of these people were on the verge of this analysis. one was rid of social policy of putting people into houses he should've been into houses. not sure where a bunch of guys, many who had been tracked by these exotic mortgages, mortgage companies would sell it because the fees. ..
just as you mentioned a few minutes ago, tremendous jobs being created are not high-paying jobs. many of them do not have benefits. we make a point the unemployment rate is terrible, but equally there are many people who are working you are now earning two-thirds of what they earned three or four years ago, half of what they earned. >> you are saying to people who are responsible for this are the politicians, but also the people who pay the politicians. and that is the 1%, to 1%. now, if this is the case, that if that 1%, why is it that again we come back to this issue that so many people say well, but they are the dynamic force in our economy.
you can't punish him for what they're doing. you talk about mitt romney and you say it's not just mitt romney. there's a whole class of mitt romney's out there who do this, and to move jobs overseas when necessary. some of the most i think emotionally powerful examples you offer, for example, one is about a rubbermaid company. another about a company that makes grid, like a lock. if you tell those stories for the future of c-span, that would be great. >> the vise grip, almost all of us have apartments, houses, congress, whatever, almost everyone has one of these vice grips that is a locking pliers because it was a great invention 75 years ago. a danish immigrant in nebraska. typical innovation. he came up with this idea that you could lock things in place and that would leave the other hand free.
in a little town in the middle of nebraska that instrument had been made decade after decade, refined, new products, it provided solid good jobs for people and community. send their kids to college if they want to go to college. these are not super high-paying jobs that they were solid jobs, jobs that were kind of the heart of american ingenuity. eventually a multinational corporation comes along, buys the company and systematically shuts it down, ships the work to china. we're what's interesting about this, the chinese factory after it went over there was not efficient, and effective is apparently so poorly run that folks have been laid off back in nebraska, paid them to go over and try to study the situation to impose efficiency on the chinese workforce. >> but the company in nebraska wiped out. >> wiped out. and it had been there for
decades, provided work for generations of people. it actually employed more people in the town itself had population. wide surrounding area. and that was typical of this country. you found vice grip stories a little respect this is done by the hedge funds, by the romney type in your been? >> it was done by the wall street people who decide we need to make more money, sending this work offshore. >> they get no pity from the federal government, from the politicians because they were -- >> they could bring that product back, essentially duty-free. and the fact that the chinese government had gone out of the way to establish these industrial parks to provide the land in some cases they actually rounded up the workplace for a lot of these factories. >> what happened with rubbermaid? >> welcome very similar. i think everybody probably has a rubbermaid product more than one, but at least one or two in the refrigerator, the containe
containers, the dust pans, you name it. rubbermaid was synonymous with worcester allow. small town america, just like the nebraska story, by scripps, providing employment for decades. exact same thing. >> we make the point the rubbermaid story because typical of how what's happened in the middle class in this country. think of the civil war. if it not been a battle of gettysburg, not some of those gigantic conflict by just a bunch of skirmishes that ultimately have much carnage. that's what's happened to the middle class. there's no one event that you can point to. june 1979 would make a point in u.s., was at the very eighth of its employment in manufacturing, total number nobody paid any attention to it because the number had always got a.
and next month it went down and continued to go down there after. it was like 19, 20 million backing. now we are around 10, 11. a dramatic drop off during the point. and all this because the policies within talking about. >> we talked about vise grips and rubbermaid. but an example of modern american ingenuity initiative, innovation at every success level would be apple. >> absolutely. >> and you in the books as the trail of the american middle class, a betrayal to the american dream, look at what happened to this american company that was so successful. they've gone overseas for their manufacturing. >> they don't make a thing in this country. one of the great examples, who we refer to as when jobs died, there were all kinds -- >> steve jobs. >> created apple. >> there are all of these illusions. he was in a class, the early day, thomas edison's of the
world. there was one huge difference. edison invented manufactured and kept in manufacturing it. up until just a few years ago. >> out the was here less than a generation in terms of manufacturing. and that was a departure from the way we did things for a long time in this country. e-reader comes up with this idea, designers help perfect the idea. then you may give your and salesmen sell. people buy. there's a whole chain of events, but indicates a viable, apple, all the manufacturing is basically a limited in this country in less than a generation. we're not saying in the book he shouldn't have built a plant somewhere else. that's not the point. the fact that none were capture is what's typical and so different your is it any surprise that apple is such a rich company? who has paid the price here because that?
we say the middle-class. >> another example where we talked about earlier, if, whoever the company is, if they want to move their production overseas, fine, but there's got to be a penalty. so that at least the playing field state level for working people, and middle-class people. the playing field is totally out of whack them. >> in fact you say people like tom friedman make the argument that we just need more education to keep up with global competition. we need to do a better job. but then you counter by saying education will tell. highly educated young people are being paid less and leaving school with higher debt loads. >> exactly. >> we have a store in the book about a very sad story about a computer programmer who had the education, excellent grades everywhere he worked, they fell in southern california, not high
marks, people referred into -- he had education, but under the new rules that would let all of these things come back, folks come in at lower salaries to be trained for his job. education, we make a point in the book that education alone is not the answer. we are not against education but we are saying and less that is accompanied by a more realistic trade policy, a better economic policy, that alone is not going to be the answer. >> because there's a shortage of jobs and you believe the shortage of jobs is caused by policies put in place by politicians that favor the very rich and these multinationals and hedge funds that are taking their money overseas, that are building overseas. and without a care about what's happened here at home for the middle class. and you point out that in germany, in japan, in india, those governments subsidize and help to grow industries and protect jobs. the united states does not.
all right, now in the book you also pick up another really, you know, big target of the left. the cole brothers. and you beat them about the head, too. -- koch brothers. for supporting policies that are in their self interest and making themselves extremely rich. you say they not only control politicians it also even economic think tank at george mason university. i believe you say the cato institute, and that they basically been put out a lot of, i don't know if you've got disinformation. if i'm wrong, tommy -- >> that's exactly what it is. >> in order to convince the american class to act against their best interest. >> you do that over and over and over, that's what happens. >> what do you mean? >> well, say how wonderful these policies are, when it's repeated
-- >> free trade and low taxes on the ridge and allowing people to keep their profits overseas. >> you hear it over and over and over, pretty soon people believe it. >> one of examples we cite in the book that they engaged in, one of the foundations or the nonprofits on the eve of the 2010 congressional election, they began running ads from a woman from canada who said she had a brain tumor and four, you don't want a canadian style health care system than in america because boy, have i gone to the united states i would be dead today with my brain tumor. well, subsequent newspaper accounts this goes -- is go she did go to the u.s. she had the procedure but the doctors involved said this was a non-life-threatening situation, which is the way the canadian system works. if it's not life-threatening, you will not be waited on as rapid as maybe one. the point is by the time that information got out, the elections are held and people
looking at them might think obamacare would be careful because then we would have a canadian style system. we wouldn't get treated. totally misleading. >> you said the koch brothers also have been critical players in terms of and using all of their think tanks and political, the politicians that they support to opposing increase in the minimum wage would you say has not kept pace with the living wage. again damaging to the middle-class to make it more difficult to file bankruptcy. you say that's particularly damaging to women, and then you also say that these are the folks, like the koch brothers, but others like them who are going to be in the forefront of the austerity drive that you say begins in 2013, and does cut into medicare and social security. the paul ryan type approach. >> exactly. >> so you see this as part of a grand conspiracy? >> it is certainly a grand plan because the thing we see in many
of the very wealthy, not all by the way, we need to emphasize that, warren buffett is in a different position. but what we see what may -- they do not like to pay taxes which means they do not want any government programs of any sort. the last government you have it means that your taxes you have. is a very for a simple approach. let the market work every go about their business. what we are worried about is how a lot of these advertisements will be. the koch brothers have announced in these swing states still pumping millions and millions of dollars. and in pennsylvania, for example, the pitch is going to be portraying obama as just a disaster in terms of the deficit. nag you may not like the policy. you may not like his programs. you may have a general we're looking at where the country should run, but obama as the greater of the deficit, i mean, he inherits this thing in 2008.
the economy is in ruins. they're running up the deficit and the economy down, that means lower tax collections. i mean, he has contributed very little to the deficit in terms of the structural problems, and a little bit is trying to do such as his rather modest stimulus, has been condemned by these people. the idea, you may not like it, but the idea that he created the deficit is bogus. >> the politicians though find that, in fact, there's money coming from hedge fund folks. there's money coming from the koch brothers and the big industrial spent exactly. >> and they feel, i suspect, well, that's the pressure, that's the way the game is being played these days. and you look right now as a fund raising, romney is out raising obama, and a lot of the wall street types, the business types say, you know, president obama has made us uncomfortable. he's attacked us.
that's what's being done in this book, "the betrayal of the american dream." if you're a rich person in this country, if you're a member of the 1% you would feel attacked by this book. >> i think those that do not want to pay more taxes would feel that way, and those who do not like government involved in any aspects of the economy they would definitely feel uncomfortable. but i think the point we are saying is we are not advocating anything specially radical or pathbreaking in this book. we're just think turn things back a little bit the way he used to be. not all the way, just go back a little bit and create the kind of balance that when you step in this economy where everybody could prosper and get ahead. >> one of the things that struck be so deeply was when you talk about the end of pension. it's one of these things people talk about where to the jobs go, nobody has attention anymore. they've all gone into these 401(k) programs and the 401(k) programs really don't
have the profit, the earning to assisting people in the way a pension did in the past. the question is how do you do away with pensions? and what you write in "the betrayal of the american dream" is that the politicians gave permission for a company to get out of pension obligation. >> exactly. >> what happens because it's the same thing. that jim talked about. the politicians are just doing the bidding of the people who give them the the money spent at another store you tell is arnold schwarzenegger, then the governor of california, and the bay bridge and the reconstruction and how, in fact, the bay bridge reconstruction is ultimately done by chinese company, a steelmaker i believe, but those opportunities, the welding and all the rest is not done in this country. and then you see in your book, schwarzenegger praising the workers. he's not raising american workers, for rebuilding the bay
bridge. he is praising chinese workers. >> this is kind of short sighted at it. a chinese got the contract because quote they have a low bid, unquote. they always get the low bid if you're not paying workers anything. you will be able to bid low. but as it ended up, cost overruns, the final cost was about what the american companies have bid. now, are there any penalties for any of this? out so enough. -- absolutely not. if all we're going to get his hand a carriage to corporate america and is never going to be a stick and right now there are no sticks. make no mistake, none. the end result will be more of the same. >> this is a really good point you're making in terms of the bridge because some of the heart of the book shows how politics today, they are not caring about jobs in this country in any way. there was a consortium of american consortium that could build the bridge. the american steel and she still
what it was 30 years ago? now. partly because of public policy apart because of their own laws. but the point was there was a group that could have put together a consortium to provide a steel. but was there any interest in doing that? and the edge to that was no. back into depression politicians were very interested in creating jobs in this country. the original bay bridge was built solely with american steel. at least part of it could've been done that we decide if if there had been a desire to do so, but there just isn't anymore. everybody wants to look to the chinese. they've got a way to get the chinese involved without any concern about the ramifications. >> you mentioned a sign held up by someone involved with occupy wall street, and it says i don't mind you being rich, i just mind you by my government. is that the bottom line? >> exactly. i don't think there's any
question about. >> made by the government and public opinion. it's not just our elected representatives, that's a huge part of it. now it's increasingly fat and advertising. the advertising that is very misleading, persuade people into believing this is bad, this is good. as a matter of fact, that may not be a place. >> occupy wall street people have been a little as common as, a bunch of rude kids stay it hit a chord with a lot of americans because who among us -- somebody went to college couldn't get a job afterwards, make good grades in college, now living at home. who among us doesn't know a retired person is lost their pension, trying to live under 401(k)? here's the thing, james, that there are people out there who are upset about those things who don't blame the rich, but, in fact, day, the problem is government spends too much money, taxes too much and has
not unleashed the power of free enterprise? >> we do not think that is a problem. we think free enterprise, a lot of it, free enterprise has been great for this country. it creates jobs. creates a lot of energy, has done some wonderful things that nobody disputes that. but it's not been held back by government regulations. you can argue right now vitamins amount of investment is going abroad to tap the middle classes and other countries. when, in fact, more of that investment should be and that's what we make the point we think the government does need to make more of an investment at home because this is a dire situation. the greatest peacetime public works program in this country's history, occurred under the watch of a republican president, dwight eisenhower with broad our partisan support. spent and high tax rates. >> you should not be part of the issue. >> at the end of the book you make some suggestions. you suggest we revise the tax
code. you suggest that there be real free trade in terms of imposing some protection here for american workers, similar to what's been used in china, japan and elsewhere. and you say that there should be investment in u.s. infrastructure, a stimulus plan. could you to get elected dog catcher's? >> probably not. but, you know, the problem was -- spent most of those polls indicate that people would go for it. i think the wealthy should pay more. every poll indicates that but again this gets back to the controls the government anymore. trade is more competent issues but again most of the polls indicate that most people, that they feel the government has not taken a forceful in a role. >> this group at the top we
talked about, they have been very successful in framing the debate. and so now the debate is all over the deficit and we've got to in the deficit tomorrow. >> austerity, austerity, austerity. >> nobody talks about the trade deficit, which we've had no, i do not, 3036, 37 years. one year after another. and you want to create jobs, into the trade deficit tomorrow. and really crack down. people, and here's the news media role in this, we always like to find kind of analogies you could use, but if you go back, say, the 1980s, and put this in terms of a really hot chick back then, she weighs 110 pounds, 1980. today she would wait
2700 pounds, following what happened with the trade deficits. that should be the visual image of everyone in this country of what, the damage that has been done by protecting -- not protecting, but allowing other nations to dictate trade for us. that's what to do. >> unbelievable. >> well, this is what i think there so many people who are unsure about the future of the country. and the fact when you ask people is the country on the right track, is the country on the wrong track, they usually say it's on the wrong track. but there comes is very polarized political divide, are you going to be with the plutocrat or are you against the plutocrats? people caught republican, democrat, liberal conservative. is this the wrong framework for addressing this problem? >> we think it is. there's always two parties in this country and you're always
going to have to vision about the way people, some people think they should be government, some less. but usually we are able, in earlier times, they're often come together during periods when things were rough. and right now we just think this whole thrust, the minority of the population to do with deficit and finance is the wrong way to go. i will never forget when we were doing the book, i was at a veteran center in southwest florida. one guy who was, his service went back to the greater work on his sitting at a desk watching a couple of congressmen debate this issue in washington on deficit spending, all calling for deficit reductions. the vein on his neck begin to pop out. he just got -- he slammed the desk and he said these people are arguing about things that are not the problem down here. what are they going to do with all the people walk in here who
are on the verge of losing their house parties talk about older veterans, because of the kind of chicanery out of wall street. it wasn't a case of more regulation. there had been enough. it had been in the input from washington to really try to solve it. these are guys who pretty much socially conservative, you know, i didn't consider one veteran in their that i would think of as a radical anyway. p.r. people to of seen this up front and personal thinks something one needs to be done and they don't see anybody doing it. >> who should be doing at? >> we make the point, this is a case where we think the government does need to stimulate. that's only part of it. tax code, stimulate investments, a little more cognizant of what's happening with trade. the trade jobs now are way beyond blue collar. these are white-collar jobs. the bureau of labor statistics data study a couple years ago that jobs are amazing.
aeronautical engineers, biochemist, pharmacists, a whole series of high-paying occupations they feel are now very much in danger of being offshore do. everyone is just sitting around not talking about it, not do so is this right or wrong, these are all educated people. >> the conclusion of your book is this going to be a middle class in this country. it's just going to be a smaller middle-class. and that there's going to be more concentration of wealth at the other top. so you have more poverty at the very bottom. this is a different america that you see coming. do you see it become extreme divided by money, and you quote an ibm researcher, i believe ibm researcher, rolf, who says that global trade is good for these
big corporations and hedge funds, but it's bad for america. >> right. >> it easy for other -- we need to be careful here because when we talk kind of beat of the corporation, we're talking about the global corporations. the domestic u.s. corporations are being hammered because they get none of the benefits of the global companies, and they are think the real price for it. >> why did they then think that their interest is with the wall streets of the world, the hedge funds of the world? because you hear it often that it is coming from the plutocrat and the think tanks, that this is a war on small business. >> exactly. they are framing the debate again spent and you think that is incorrect. >> absolutely. >> what's the truth, what's correct? >> the medium-size corporations are just being hammered, especially with taxes spee-2 are saying the owners of these medium-size corporations don't realize their own best interest?
>> some of them do. spent the whole debate on bringing this money back offshore from the multinationals, to trillions into bank accounts in the cayman's and so forth, a lot of the small businesses have actually organized and written letters to the congressmen and senators saying, don't do this. don't let them bring this back. why should they get a break on their taxes when we are paying at a much higher rate? so some people do know what is going on. it's like a lot of these things. others have been influenced by these comments that we need more entrepreneurs in this country. we need to encourage innovation. and there's been very little to discourage that in this country. i mean, the biggest problem is we are not thinking bigger in terms of what these good paying jobs should be. they can't all be left to the private sector but i think that's the big difference we have with that. there is a role on public
policy, always has been able of public policy. hauber railroads built in this country? did they just suddenly materialize overnight? now, they were given land, incentives, all kinds of things. there is a role for the. i think that's what we are saying. not to suffocate, but to work with it and to make sure that we have a more prosperous society. >> you say that we have not had this concentration of wealth at the top since the robber barons of the 19th century. and i wonder if people, one, thinking about the presidential election think that you are demonizing the rich, demonizing mitt romney, that you're simply tools of the left wing and the democrats and president obama. >> that very well may be that we have been consistent for 40 years. we just believe the playing field should be level, that's all. level. >> we've been writing about taxes for many years. and